Chink in the Arsenal armour exposed by leaks

by .

Welcome to Saturday my darlings, what have we on the frying plate today?

Well, we might as well continue talking about miserable things because why not.

I think one of the sub-narratives of the mess that we’re in at the moment is leadership at the very top of Arsenal.

We’re still in a very messy era. There are some very positive things going on at the club, but there a number of things that still don’t quite sit right.

The death of Don Raul last summer saw some pretty decisive moves. We used the cover of the pandemic to move on a lot of underperformers. Our scouting network was obliterated and we canned Huss Fahmy just a few weeks ago. Lots of positive moves, but we didn’t quite cut to the bone where we needed to, and I think the blunt knife we used in some areas might be problematic.

One of the least surgical decisions we made, almost immediately, was to promote Mikel Arteta to manager. The first sniff of ‘rock star’ and we caved.

On paper, it’s not a big deal. Coaches fuss about it. Pochettino went from wearing fancy threads to rolling with a tracksuit when he felt he wasn’t being listened to.

‘I might as well be coach’

It’s a power thing. When you are a coach, you take what you are given and you make it work. When you are a manager, you are in control of more things. Now, I don’t know what Arteta’s remit is inside the club, but it’s certainly not just coaching.

I would imagine on the face of it, the decision was the fairly logical view: Arteta knows what good looks like, let’s give him a bigger remit to make good elsewhere.

For me, this was a bad move. In advertising, if you are an elite creative, there’s making the work, then there’s everything else. You want your best creatives focused on making the work. Not fussing over structure, recruitment, and PDPs.

We promoted someone before they’d really done something. Arteta should be focused on the work, not the PDP for the new Gunnersaurus. This move set a tone we’ve seen before.

‘Trust in the manager’

We spend 10 years trying to escape the clutches of a manager that filled the power vacuum in the mightiest of ways. At least Wenger had won 3 league titles before things got out of hand.

The most worrying thing about the current structure is it was put in counter weaknesses we have elsewhere in our football leadership team.

This is Tony Adams last week.

“I think it got lost, this one, in the transition of the chief scout at Arsenal going out.

“He was spotted very early on, not by me, by the Arsenal recruitment office.

“The chief scout was absolutely bowled over by him and the great prospect that he is.

“He had more or less done the deal, but at that moment the new sporting director Edu came in from Brazil and had no European experience and no UK experience.

“I think it got lost in the transition, Edu didn’t know nothing about this player.”

Maybe we could give Edu a pass on Bellingham because of Raul. Maybe we could ignore our old scouts crying in the press because let’s be honest, their taste levels had been wide of the mark for about a decade (Park, Perez, Asana, Jenkinson, Yaya, Ryo, Campbell). What you can’t ignore is the fact Adams is being very pointed in his attack here.

He is saying these things because there’s weakness in the Arsenal armour and a lot of people know it and talk about it. Vinnai put Arteta on the same level as Edu, not because Arteta is a god, but because they are picking up slack for the questionable tenure of Edu so far. Expect more stories like the one from Adams to creep out of the next 6 months.

Leaks are always strategic. Follow the money. No one ever leaked against Arsene because he was literally seen as a god at Arsenal and player, agents, and coaches knew that there was no way to ever remove him. A direct attack from a legend is not good, especially when the same person was full of compliments for Arteta the week before. People know the regard Arteta is held in, they don’t fear ramifications of crossing the Technical Director.

That said. Arteta should not be on the same level as the Technical Director. That’s not how it works. Leadership structures are there for a reason. You need clarity when it comes to R&R. Someone always needs to be the boss. There has to be someone that makes tough decisions. Not every conversation can be a negotiation.

If we had Luis Campos or Ralph Rangnick running Arsenal, do you think either would have sanctioned the deal on Willian this summer? Absolutely not. Do you think Arteta would have lobbied for the deal? Absolutely. But strong leadership would have seen that sort of signing as unacceptable at a club that has haemorrhaged cash consistently over the last 5 years.

Arsenal should have stripped back this summer, made themselves lean at the cost of short term success, then built back better. We didn’t. We are still the same bloated monster we were last year. We simply prolonged the same failed football strategy we’ve been working to since 2017 when we chased Top 4 by topping up on expensive players that weren’t quite right.

A strong Technical Director would have said, ‘look, we have been hit hard by poor investments over the past 5 years. We’re going to fix it. We ripped out the scouting desk. We’re prioritising elite young players we can grow. If we’re buying senior players, they’ll need to have resale value. We installed a young developmental coach for the longterm, he will grow with the players.’

Instead, we’ve found that horrible half-space where we semi-go at being a big club. You sign a big player, but you only land one. You sign a player that does what you need… but probably way better 6 years ago. You miss out on a creative talent altogether.

None of this is to say that we haven’t made some good signings. Thomas Partey and Gabriel were laser-focused, elite, and they solved actual problems we’ve had for years. The point of the post is that if we truly believe in creating a high-performance culture, we have to make sure the leadership structure is correct. We cannot have precocious talent unfocused during the formative years. We cannot drag deadweight. We cannot shirk making difficult decisions.

I don’t have all the information on Saliba. I know mostly why he didn’t make the squad this year. What I don’t understand is why the situation has been so messy. The player has a good profile in Europe, he started training with Arsenal well before preseason started, it must have been clear that he wasn’t right this year. So where was the loan move? We have a loans manager? Now, it could have been many things. The player might not have wanted Brentford, West Ham, or whoever the club was. It might have been the club felt they needed to build him physically. It might have been a late problem with St Etienne. Whatever it was, it looks like a fuck up. Now the narrative has been lost to the fans and it’s an unwelcome grey cloud that is arguably more toxic than Ozil.

What I think you should watch for is whether Vinnai makes moves next summer. Is he a ruthless operator, or is he passive like Ivan Gazidis. The simple truth is this: If Edu were the Technical Director we believed he was, he wouldn’t have taken a demotion this summer. If I were Edu, I’d have resigned on the spot at the disrespect. Sadly, we live in a world where only the good people take news like that with a smile on their face.

Anyway, there’s not a lot that can be done right now. I still firmly believe we’ll fix the problems. There’s a way to unlock our attack and the sign of a good young coach is how they deal with adversity. The good thing is that we’re in our adverse moment now and we’re only 6 points off the top of the league. We either solve it like Wenger did in his early career, or we flunk, and we have an Emery moment. If we find a run like we did last year, all this drama will be forgotten… but we really need to fix up fast. Poor in attack, a press that has lost intensity, and boring football… a lot of fixing.

Over to you, Mikel.

297 Responses to “Chink in the Arsenal armour exposed by leaks”

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  1. Dan

    We took positive steps in bringing in Gabriel and Partey, and with the likes of mustafi and ozil contracts ending this year, we were in a better position, but then went and gave contracts to willian, Cedric, and Mari. One step forward, two steps back. Now they are the new dead wood.

  2. Upstate Gooner

    So wait… I’m a little confused here. It’s Edu’s and whoever he reports to fault that Arteta signed Willian? Sorry, Peds, but our genius of a manager should’ve known better himself. The likes of Willian, Soares, Mari should’ve never been signed. And the likes of Xhaka, Lacazette, and perhaps a few others should’ve been shipped out. That’s on Arteta. He wanted those guys, and he got them. Now it’s up to him to make things better and to have those guys mentioned above perform at a higher level. Should he fail, he will be asked certain questions and perhaps will face possibility of a sack… and rightfully so I might add.

  3. shad

    Good post Pedro. Well balanced.

    Arteta really has to mix it up, and stop micro managing. If he isn’t careful he’ll get burnt out fast and a club as impatient as ours won’t have handkerchiefs in wait.

  4. Tom

    I guess I’m in minority here but I don’t mind Arteta’s bigger decision making role personnel wise. At least if he fails it won’t be because “he never got his players “ in.

    There isn’t anyone at the club with a track record of having built a successful team anywhere before anyway, so might as well give Arteta enough rope…….

  5. shad

    The scouting network didn’t die to keep geriatrics on fat contracts. Arteta has to fall on that sword himself. His case is not made better when you hear rumours of Mustafi being offered a new deal with Saliba not even making the Europa League squad.

  6. Marc

    Pedro

    On a serious note – good piece. The real concern is if you take your comments one step further – Edu isn’t right for the role and is removed next year or whenever. We then look to bring in the right person but he expects to be above the manager you’ve then got a situation where you’re talking about effectively demoting Arteta or having to fill the role with someone who isn’t up to the job.

    Just when we seemed to be getting some of the structure sorted we’ve sabotaged ourselves.

  7. Kaz

    Weren’t you praising the ‘Arteta is a manager now’ shtick not so long back?

    Regardless, if he can finally release the handbrake and start setting the team to attack then good.

    I still think he gets sacked end of the season as we aren’t finishing top 6.

  8. shad

    If this is the litmus season where Arteta is expected to getaway with murder, he definitely needs to loosen up on the defensive pragmatism front and give the attack much more freedom. I honestly want to see more of the kids play, who knows, one could come good. With the games coming in thick and fast, can we see more ESR, Balogun, Azeez, Moller..what do we have to lose by trying them? Nketiah, Nelson and Willock aren’t exactly pulling down trees.

  9. Words+on+a+Blog

    Pedro,

    Not convinced that Edu is the problem.

    And if he is, he’s a medium term or a long term problem.

    The immediate issue is for Arteta to sort out his tactics and our attacking play against “tier 2” teams.

    If Indeed he is a problem, Edu is one for Stan and Vinai to resolve In the long term.

  10. shad

    “I still think he gets sacked end of the season as we aren’t finishing top 6.”

    Bold prediction. I think he’ll be “demoted” back to coach and a DoF brought in to handle the business side of things. Think the FA Cup has leveraged him an extra season, and he really needs to come correct next summer.

  11. Kaz

    You’ve seen our games this season right? Shad 😂

    I don’t see us getting in the top 6 at all and I don’t see the Kroenke’s keeping him around barring a Uefa win.

  12. Marc

    WOAB

    Arteta getting the tactics / balance right is an everyday problem.

    Having a structural imbalance doesn’t look as important but needs sorting just as urgently – Edu needs to be making sure the right targets are lined up, players contracts are being overseen properly and getting players out the door we don’t want.

  13. shad

    @Kaz,

    Our football is shyte but Arteta is fortunate there are no crowds in the stadium. I get where you are coming from because unlike Emery, he had a good pre-season and a full on summer to get the ins and outs required (especially outs) of which he’s bungled. Let’s see whether he will switch up the play and where we’ll be in March.

  14. andy1886

    Funny how when I questioned last summer how much Edu would know about current European footballers I was shot down by the knee-jerk posititivas who claimed that of course he would, his Brazilian players played in Europe. Thought that it was bollocks then and seems that it was.

    Truth be told we haven’t had an executive team that could tell a good player from a crap one for years. We’ve got lucky with one or two but overall our transfer dealings have been awful.

  15. Champagne charlie

    The actors involved need more than a Covid riddled half-summer with Don Raul exiting the stage to prove their worth.

    The issue at the club right now is Arteta delivering, that’s the pressing question, not Edu, or Vinai, or anyone else.

  16. Kaz

    I think Edu is getting blamed for things Arteta wanted.

    Edu overruled him to get Partey and rightly so, probably got us Gabriel and Willian isn’t shite he just isn’t getting the game played to his strengths.

  17. Words+on+a+Blog

    The other thing is that we’ve had several summers of structural and personnel changes in management and backroom staff and this summer has seen a pretty brutal restructuring.

    I think it’s high time to pause from playing musical chairs with management and backroom staff and focus on what’s happening on the pitch.

  18. Pedro

    ‘I think he’ll be “demoted” back to coach and a DoF brought in to handle the business side of things’

    Shad, I don’t think he’ll get demoted, but I think at some stage, we’ll hire a technical director that is rightly put over the top of him.

  19. Valentin

    Pedro,

    You may be right in that Edu does not have the experience and character to be a successful DoF at Arsenal. However there are still many things solely Arteta’s responsibility that obviously are not working. Edu may not have been able to seal the right deals but Arteta is still the one having Auba on the left wing and Willian as a false 9.

    Strangely the new narrative is that it is all Edu’s fault, when the noise that I have heard is that Arteta is impossible to work with. Dither, change his mind, refuse to compromise. That stubbornness and single mind track is a great strength when you are winning. When you are not, that lack of flexibility becomes a weakness.

    Check with your sources and they will confirm that Arteta Was told in no uncertain terms that it was either Partey or Aouar but not both. He still refused to budge until Edu took upon himself to purchase Partey because his deal was the easiest and cleanest to conclude. And now his staff let it leak that Aouar was always his first choice.

    Trust me behind the smile and great public interview play there is a ruthless streak. Remember the expensive watch that was gifted to Gazidis paid by the fines levied by Captain Arteta on players. Don’t listen at what Arteta says, look at what he does.

  20. Marc

    Pedro

    “Shad, I don’t think he’ll get demoted, but I think at some stage, we’ll hire a technical director that is rightly put over the top of him.”

    Do you think Arteta will accept that?

    “he wouldn’t have taken a demotion this summer. If I were Edu, I’d have resigned on the spot at the disrespect.”

    Surely that goes for Arteta as well.

  21. shad

    @Kaz,

    Not missing Guendouzi but we definitely miss Özil’s guile around the 18 for teams sitting deep. He’d at lest give us one good game every 3 matches, 65min per game.

  22. Champagne charlie

    Pedro

    That’s fair. But I still think everyone involved realistically has next summer as their ‘show and tell’ as far as competency goes. I wasn’t particularly a fan of how things unfolded this summer behind the scenes, but there was a necessity to it so you kind of grin an bear it.

    I think in a regular summer we absorb that better and maintain firmer grip on the moves both in and out. It wasn’t, and we didn’t, so it all became a bit frustrating.

    January is a shitty market but maybe we can see a show of confidence on their part for the road ahead. Cannot afford to dither on decisions now, have to commit to clarity and purposeful moves.

    I’ll be encouraged if we address Lacazette and bring in a creative player. Will show they’re keen to address clear needs, but also tackle difficult situations.

  23. Captain Tierney

    Rangnick is where the future is at.
    Dont think we’ll go for him tho.

    Even Monchi’s second stint at Sevilla has been excellent.

    Campos is tearing it up at Lille.

    And we have Edu+ a loan manager. Botched a loan deal for one of the best young players in the world. They had 2 friggin months to sort it out.
    Tho the deals of Gabriel and Edu shed good light on Edu we need to see much more from him. He also couldn’t sell any of our deadwood.

  24. jwl

    Not that i have inside knowledge but i assumed Atteta promotion to manager meant he would be part of discussion on who to buy/sell, and maybe a few more responsiblity, but Edu and club have final decision. I agree with Pedro that Edu probably quits if Arteta is now in charge of club direction.

    I much prefer Eiropean style where managers are constantly hired/fired, head coaches come and go, but club stays.

    Wenger had way too much power, way back when i remember article about all the work he did on moving into Emirates – it sounded like Wenger was project manager and interior designer for new stadium while also managing Arsenal- no one else at club was given chance to shine, everything throigh Wenger.

  25. shad

    “Shad, I don’t think he’ll get demoted, but I think at some stage, we’ll hire a technical director that is rightly put over the top of him.”

    Fair enough. Though at this point in time his 2 dilemmas are getting us playing attractive, effective football and unfreezing out some players, which means having to eat humble pie..something I’m not sure he is ready to. Let’s see where we’ll be by game 15 to 18.

  26. Kaz

    @shad

    I know, I reckon us banishing Ozil is shockingly bad AND stupid. We have put up with serial underperforming players in the squad for years but we happen to get rid of the one who can make us tick and give us the most output when he does play, but kept the others.

    Madness.

    I think Guen can be a real baller too.

  27. Pierre

    Shad
    “can we see more ESR, Balogun, Azeez, Moller..what do we have to lose by trying them? Nketiah, Nelson and Willock aren’t exactly pulling down trees.”

    It depends gow tou look at ,wiĺlock , Eddie and Nelson have only started one league game between them.

    League cup …away victories over Leicester and liverpool

    Europa cup…victories over rapid, dundalk and Molde.

    Goals for 11
    Goals against 2

    And yes , I would like to see Balogun start, I would like to see Martinelli start when fit..

    I’ve been advocating starting youth for weeks now, as you said …nothing to lose, they cannot do any worse

  28. Valentin

    Shad,

    ESR is a perma-crock. I wrote last year that he will get a career a la Wilshere: full of what-if and remember THAT GAME.

    The one I was excited is Azeez. He has more defensive awareness than ESR and he can play as part of double pivot. He may not have the dribbling ability of others but his passing range is what set him apart.

    Balogun is not going to displace Nkethia, Lacazette anytime soon. With both Brentford and SHU guaranteeing him direct access to the first team, it is unlikely that he will sign an extension. I expect him to leave in January in a cut price deal.

    Moller is a strange case, because from the video I have seen of him, he seems to have decent technique, but his huge frame gives him a big advantage. At senior level, experienced and fully grown up and bigger frame defenders means that that advantage is quite often compensated. I would not mind see more of him in proper domestic cup games.

  29. Kaz

    CT

    I reckon Edu wanted to move on players, I think Arteta told him he wants them to stay and he wanted to give Mustafi a contract extension ffs….

    This is what I mean, I think Edu is getting blamed for Arteta things.

  30. Champagne charlie

    Marc

    Laca and Auba were peas in a pod this past summer. Both contracts winding down, both among the top earners. We chose Auba as the future, we never offered Laca an extension.

    To me you’ve now got a player on 180k that we need to shift to retain some value. Use him in Jan as bait for Aouar. Lyon are losing Depay end of season for nothing, we should be offering a proactive approach to make things happen.

    I’d sooner we do that than bring in the hottest teenager going.

  31. shad

    @Kaz,

    Guedouzi can be a baller in the right set up but first he needs to get is his head out of his ass and be humble. We don’t really have enough older players with the Arsenal DNA to hand hold a lot of these youngins – then again, what’s player loyalty these days? Plus signing Partey being signed and the emergence of Willock has basically relegated him further down the pecking order.

  32. Valentin

    Marc,

    How is the ST system work now.
    Last week, I received a call from Arsenal asking me if I wanted to drop a deposit on a Club level ST to guarantee first opportunity when the fans are authorised back in the stadium.
    It might be BS by the sales guy, but he sounded confident that ST holders would be authorised in the stadium soon. I asked how soon and he pretty much stated before the end of this season.

  33. Marc

    Cc

    The reason I asked is because the rumour is Roma put in a “sunstantial” bid in for Laca during the summer.

    We’re now heading towards a situation where he’ll start to look at leaving on a free.

  34. Captain Tierney

    Kaz

    Edu is to blame for us failing to offload our deadwood. Period.
    He is our technical director and transfer window is the period where he earns his keep. He failed in sales big time.
    Maybe just maybe Arteta wanted to keep Mustafi.
    That still leaves out
    Sok who should have been sold
    Kola/Amn. At least one should have left. We now have 5 full backs in our team. 6 if you also count Saka.
    Torreira- We needed money . And then simple loaned him to a team who didn’t even want to negotiate with us for one of their players we wanted.
    Guendouzi- One of the few bargaining chips we had. Simple loan again. Arteta is also to blame for his drop in market value.
    Holding/Mustafi/Chambers- At least one of these 3 should have been sold/loaned.
    Emi- Should have gained more from his sale. Chelsea payed around 25-30 mil for Mendy who himself has little experience at top level and is an inferior keeper to Emi.
    Biggest botch of the summer- Saliba.

  35. Ishola70

    Guendouzi was not an AM so doesn’t really make sense to say that Willock would have demoted him.

    Guendouzi had far more about his game though than Willock as a central midfielder.

    Partey would have been the reason to see Guendouzi demoted.

  36. Marc

    Valentin

    Yeah they’re trying to get people to bite on club level ST’s – last I heard they started circa £3 grand a pop.

    I’ve still got my 6 credits left so I can’t see it costing me than a coupe of tickets max if / when we’re back in the ground.

  37. Champagne charlie

    Marc

    Hence why he’s a player we need to address. Though I don’t see him being here beyond the summer, he certainly won’t be leaving for a free.

    Laca’s value to us will be in an exchange imo.

  38. shad

    @Valentin,

    Weird treatment of Balogun – I actually rate him higher than Nketiah, who I feel is one dimensional – he can poach the goals but besides that, doesn’t really offer much as a centre forward. He isn’t a dribbler neither can he hold up play or have aerial strength. Laca is on his last legs but Arteta is playing 2nd fiddle to his relationship with Auba.
    I also like Azeez – he is a high IQ baller and reads the game very well and his passing range is super – I think he can complement Partey very well if he had the engine to do 90min.

    Shame about ESR – he seems to be made of toffee,

  39. jwl

    I love Tony Adams but he talks a lot of shit often. Arsenal put a lot of time and effort into pursuing player and then one guy left and club forgot young talent existed?

    Perhaps the club decided to not follow recommendations of people they just fired and start fresh or we decided to spend money differently. Weve bought martinelli and gabriel, buying young feisty talented players was not our problem last summer.

  40. Captain Tierney

    Dont get fans fascination with Balogun and Azeez recently.

    I get it Balogun’s very highly rated and should get some minutes in Europa. But what have you guys seen that coaching team have not, already labelling him better than Nketiah.
    Lets not forget Nketiah was much more prolific than Balogun in PL2 and all the age groups. PL football is a different gravy.

    Azeez as highly rated as he is, is not ready to start in the PL or even EL. His positioning is nowhere near a top level footballers yet. Watch the friendly you’ll get what I’m talking about.

  41. Kaz

    CT

    Arteta didn’t help. If he’s telling the players they all got a part to play, why are they going to agitate for a move and for less money?

    The only one who agitated hard was Torreira who was the only one worth real money. However ‘Rona has all clubs keeping their wallets tight.

    We could have hard balled more but Arteta didn’t even want to utilise one of our best dms.

    Arteta didn’t let AMN leave and most of the players are happy to see out their contracts or have been told they have a part to play in the season.

  42. shad

    “Guendouzi was not an AM so doesn’t really make sense to say that Willock would have demoted him.Guendouzi had far more about his game though than Willock as a central midfielder.”

    @Ishola,

    Willock and Guendouzi prefer to play as box to box CMs with Guuendouzi primarily a #6 and Willock more of a #8 (if we are taking the traditional formation of a 4 4 2) but given how those positions dovetail so much in the modern game and with our 3 4 3 formation, they interchange quite a bit to the point they perform the same role – tracking back and supporting attack. If a youth team was to be played, you’d probably see Willock get the nod ahead of Guen in either position,

  43. Ishola70

    Shad

    Willock is not a good enough all round midfielder yet to be talking about him other than an attacking midfielder that can be capable of getting on the end of moves.

    Guendouzi had far more influence in the middle of the pitch than Willock has shown thus far.

  44. Marc

    Cc

    ” he certainly won’t be leaving for a free.”

    I hope not the list of valuable players who have / are walking on free’s is getting a joke recently.

    Mustafi
    Ozil
    Sok
    Miki
    Ramsey

    We’ve got Chambers, Nketiah, Elneny and Kolas contract running out 2022 as well as Laca.

  45. shad

    @CT,

    Balogun has better aerial ability, can shoot better with his weaker left foot and is pacier than Nketiah. It would be tragic to lose him for a pittance while still keeping lower ceiling players. And yes, I’ve watched a a ton of PL2 as well. I recall calling out Saka as well ..

  46. Captain Tierney

    Kaz

    What do you expect Arteta to say in the prezzer?
    This this and this deadwood is not required at the club anymore? And drag down their prices even more.

    Edu hasn’t done anything yet other than signing Partey and getting Gabriel over the line ( a process which Raul had already begun). The gross incompetence of not finding a loan club for Saliba has to put some real pressure on him from above.

  47. Captain Tierney

    Shad

    If Balogun is so good why does he have less goals than Nketiah in the lower age groups?

    I dont doubt Balogun’s talent. But I think he is been massively overrated by some on here. Unai who gave Saka a debut at 17 didnt fancy giving Balogun a chance. Freddie who had worked with the U23s and U18s for the past how 2-3 years also didn’t fancy giving Balogun a chance.

  48. Kaz

    I expect Arteta not to mention the players at all and not even bring it up, he can quite easily talk about something else. Why the fuck would you leak you want to give Mustafi a contract extension.

    You think anyone hearing that is going to go, oh no we better bid fast!

  49. Graham62

    I don’t get it.

    What’s Edu got to do with our tactics on the pitch?

    Deflecting things away from Arteta.

    Very clever.

  50. shad

    @Ishola,

    Guendouzi played in a more liberal midfield system under Emery where truth be told, our midfield was cat amongst pigeons really. He was all action because he was next to a static Xhaka so of course he’d look mobile – even a phone booth looks mobile next to Xhaka. Now, in a more rigid system where positional discipline and spacial awareness is required, Arteta will not have Willock running around like a headless chicken a la Emery days.

  51. Captain Tierney

    Calling out Saka was not a tough task. Whoever had seen him knew he was special.

    Marc

    I suspect the reason why we didn’t sell him is the following
    We were going to get pittance if we sold him last window.
    So maybe the club thinks if we can give him chances in the first team this season and show him he’s got a future here, he might just sign.

  52. Marc

    Graham

    If I was a complete cynic I would agree Pedro’s trying to develop an angle.

    Fact is with no football there’s very little talk about and it is getting boring discussing Arteta’s numerous cock ups.

    They’ll be plenty of time to discuss Arteta again soon.

  53. Captain Tierney

    Kaz

    Well when journalists specifically keep asking you about specific players he has to talk them up. Every good manager does that. Just listen to some of Klopps or Pep’s prezzers.

    Re Mustafi
    Are you just spouting nonsense for the sake of it?
    The Mustafi contract leak came a month after window shut.
    ‘You think anyone hearing that is going to go, oh no we better bid fast!’
    If this was the goal the leak would have been made during the TW.

  54. Ishola70

    Shad

    Willock has look limited as a central midfielder since day one when he first started making appearances in the first team and with Xhaka involved as well.

    The reason Guendouzi was more “liberal” in his play was because he was and is a better central midfielder than Willock at this time.

    Willock as AM on the end of moves ok possibility. Willock as more of an all round midfielder = not shown enough yet.

  55. Kaz

    CT

    How is it nonsense, why the fuck was it leaked?

    Like I said, if Edu wants to move on players then Arteta tells him, no no not him and is telling the players he wants them to stay, how is Edu going to move them on?.

    Why can’t you see this very easy to understand point.

    Footballers aren’t slaves they get to decide if they move too.

  56. Champagne charlie

    Marc

    Would sell everyone you mention there. This summer is a massive one for movement at the club, I think it’s going to be one of the biggest turnovers we’ve seen in many a year.

    Only hope we have CL money to add to the pot.

  57. shad

    @CT,

    Balogun is still a bit lightweight but his finishing ability is incomparable to Nketiah. Maybe he needs to bulk up a bit more or get some minutes in the Championship but the kid is a decent baller. If we can secure £10m for him as was being touted, then that’s OK.

  58. Pedro

    Valentin, you are reading this incorrectly, likely on purpose, if you have read any of my stuff this week and taken from it that Arteta is not responsible for what is happening on the pitch.

    The blog today is about structure, leadership, and strategy.

    Not about what happens on the pitch, which is Arteta’s domain.

  59. Kaz

    Anyway Ziyech was available and doing very well last season too.

    I sincerely hope we are really going for Szoboszlai. I’m sick of seeing these kind of talents going to our rivals.

  60. Marc

    Cc

    I assume you mean the ones who’s contracts expire in 2022! Yeah all of them could be replaced without too much trouble – Even at reduced fees there’s got to be £20 – £25 million there.

  61. Kaz

    Ish

    Who scores and assists too!

    I fear Arteta is just going to be petulant because Auoar isn’t the main target (and he shouldn’t be the main target)

  62. Ishola70

    Kaz

    That goal he scored for Hungary the other night. Yes the game was stretched and it was near the end of the match but it was quite impressive in how quickly he carried that ball just inside his own half to the edge of the opponents box to score.

  63. Marc

    “I fear Arteta is just going to be petulant because Auoar isn’t the main target (and he shouldn’t be the main target)”

    Whilst there are plenty of criticisms that can be directed at Arteta I don’t think he’s naive enough to think he can insist of signing’s that we just can’t afford.

    If he makes CL this season he’ll be in a position to push for more backing but January not unless there’s a huge improvement in performances and results.

  64. Champagne charlie

    Marc

    I’ve been a big advocate of us gutting the fringe players at the football club for some time. Often that’s been construed as protecting first team players that ‘aren’t good enough’. It’s not.

    I just believe we’ve numerous wasted bodies offering very little value to any project. Chambers, Elneny (until the last two months) are clear examples that in truth have just existed on the wage bill in their careers here. And no, it’s not because they’ve never been appreciated for their ability….they’re not at the level.

  65. Marc

    Cc

    Like anything it’s about getting the balance right. We’ve got too many players on too much money, having squad players is something you need to do but we’ve got sub standard players who are earning more or similar levels to first team players in other mid table PL teams.

  66. SpanishDave

    Not much strategy buying a much needed midfielder two hours before the window ended!
    Didn’t go for a creative midfielder in the window.
    So the club cannot seem to have a plan going forward and this is now being witnessed.

  67. Marko

    You know Tony Adams not being involved with the club whatsoever and coming out and spouting shit like some scorned slut it shouldn’t count as a leak.

    But if we are counting it as a leak it makes Mikel look like a bitch cause I remember all those leaks under Emery looked poorly on him

  68. Champagne charlie

    Marc

    We’ve not been close to striking a good balance for a while.

    Post-Wenger was the big hope from me as far as squad building was concerned, thought we’d see a big turnover for Emery’s first window and a structure toward the new era but it wasn’t that impressive.

    Two summer windows later we’d recruited guys who largely aren’t fit for purpose and are being sold, so the strategy again gets called into question.

    Now that’s the focus for me as much as the profile of player with who we’re going for now. The 3 this past summer are encouraging in terms of profile, but we’ve big gaps to fill.

  69. Pedro

    Marko, sometimes your dim comments are so bad, they are electric.

    Tony Adams is literally leaking information on the record and you don’t count is as a leak.

    He even went as far last week to name one of his sources.

    “I can’t speak highly enough of the guy. When I talk to my mate Steve Bould, who’s still in the club managing the Under-23s at the moment, he said to me, ‘Tone, this guy’s got it at all’.

    “He’s the governor. He’s the best (Bould has) seen in a long time. He really does understand the game. He expresses himself, he’s very confident. It’s his first job for god’s sake and he’s doing a remarkable job.”

    Honestly mate, delete your account.

  70. englandsbest

    Let’s not get into ‘blame everything on the manager’ mode. We are right to be wary of too much power in one man’s hands, though. Remember Wenger? But we should also remember that Wenger was not a problem while David Dein was around.

    I believe Arteta deserved promotion from coach to manager. Like it or not, he is now the ‘face’ of Arsenal. Something Emery could never be. People looked at the Club and they saw Wenger. Now they see Arteta..

    But behind Wenger there was the shadow of David Dein. Wenger’s book reveals that he was narrow-minded beyond belief. It was football, football, football, nothing else. Arteta is more practical, more sophisticated. Nevertheless, his experience of life is circumscribed by pro football. He needs a guiding watchful shadow behind him.

    Not Edu, he and Arteta are too similar. Nor Vinai, he lacks the charisma that comes from power. Who, then? Josh, the billionaire’s son? No evidence of that, thus far. The corporate lawyer then?

    Maybe.

  71. Pedro

    … and let’s be clear (as we often do for you Marko).

    Staff leaking ‘Emery is a boremonster’ = Weak
    Legends leaking ‘He’s the guvnor’ = not so weak

    The struggle for you to threads stories into a coherent rebuttal against me is something else.

  72. Marko

    Tony Adams is literally leaking information on the record and you don’t count is as a leak.

    No I don’t. Doesn’t work for the club doesn’t count as a leak and the comments and reference to Bould (who’s not involved with transfers btw) seem to be solely about Mikel. It’s really nothing to be taken seriously but because it’s a negative about Edu and not Mikel I assume that’s why it’s being talked about by you. But again if it’s a leak and it’s happening under Mikel the manager’s watch then it makes him look like a cuck.

  73. Pedro

    Marko, you have to make up your mind here.

    Information, being leaked by a 3rd party, from a 1st party source is an on the record leak. You can’t flat earth that reality.

    If the leak is good about Arteta, it means he’s liked, so it’s not a bad leak.

    This is real basic stuff. Just take some time over it, let it sink in.

  74. Marko

    Staff leaking ‘Emery is a boremonster’ = Weak
    Legends leaking ‘He’s the guvnor’ = not so weak

    Again you’re kinda changing the goal posts we literally argued about leaks of any kind under Emery being bad and now you’re talking about a recent leak and how it’s a serious leak and not a nothing leak which is what I’m saying and disregarding a leak under Mikel’s tenure. It’s all very consistent.

    Just to be clear I don’t think what Tony Adams recently said matters in the slightest that’s you.

  75. Marc

    Not sure it counts as a leak if you’re naming your source – Hardly Deep Throat / Woodward and Bernstein!

    It’s more like gossip with someone repeating something his mate has told him saying something nice about someone..

  76. Ishola70

    I don’t mind bringing in a few oldens for balance sake.

    Sokratis did a job of sorts for a season and was a lower key signing.

    What I can’t stand is bringing in oldens and putting them on superstar wages. And no then being free doesn’t matter. Their actual wage should reflect their current standing in world football.

  77. Pedro

    Marko, you will never find an article of mine that says

    ‘Emery is weak because there are positive stories about him in the press’

    You are inventing goal posts so you can one day score a goal.

    Not happening on this.

  78. Pedro

    Marc,

    Marko said Adams doesn’t have contacts at Arsenal.

    Firstly, stupid thing to say.

    Secondly, there’s an interview where he literally says where he landed his information… froms someone that, you know, works at the club.

    It is amazing how low you have a drag a conversation when Marko is in town.

  79. Ishola70

    Leicester was a good example of this.

    They brought in Evans an oldie but he was again a low key signing and not put on stupid wages for his standing in the football world of today.

    Turns out he was a very shrwed buy by Leicester.

  80. Marko

    Information, being leaked by a 3rd party, from a 1st party source is an on the record leak. You can’t flat earth that reality.

    Right but where’s the leak? Tony adams coming out and saying he’s talked to Steve Bould about how good Mikel Arteta is isn’t really a leak and the stuff about how we should have signed Jude Bellingham with no connection to what was said between him and Steve Bould is an irrelevance. Like literally the whole thing is nothing I wouldn’t even classify it as a leak but you would. Steve Bould says Mikel is the real deal and we missed out on Jude Bellingham… what is this hot take from Tony Adams amazing.

    If the leak is good about Arteta, it means he’s liked, so it’s not a bad leak.

    Again the argument back in the day under Emery was a leak of any kind was bad… it’s clearly not the case anymore and that’s fine…ahem

  81. Marc

    Pedro

    Just making the observation that generally leaks are something that would get the “leaker” (is that the term? whistle blower seems a bit dramatic) in trouble. Telling someone that a new member of staff at your organisation is bloody good is hardly something the club are going to discipline Bould for.

  82. Pedro

    Marko, again, cite me saying positive leaks are bad, somewhere, because you are clearly lying here. Which is odd for someone so keen to call others liars.

    Secondly, if Adams has no inside source, how is he citing Steve Bould?

    Answer: Because he has inside sources. So your point on the Edu story is moot.

    Put the shovel away.

  83. Marko

    Marko said Adams doesn’t have contacts at Arsenal.Firstly, stupid thing to say.

    You know what’s stupid not being able to read basic English and understanding what’s being said.

    “You know Tony Adams not being involved with the club whatsoever and coming out and spouting shit like some scorned slut it shouldn’t count as a leak.”

    That’s literally what I said. Not involved with the club doesn’t equals no contact within the club. Does it even count as a leak if you’re not involved with the club anymore

  84. Pedro

    Marc, semantics.

    Has information leaked from the training ground via a third party? Yes. Do we know who that was? Yes. Does this suggest Adams has inside sources at Arsenal? Yes. Categorically.

    Which is my point to Marko’s ridiculous weigh in on something he doesn’t understand.

  85. Marko

    Just forget it Pedro trying to have an honest consistent conversation with you is difficult enough so I’ll just leave it. Plain to see who the new target is…

  86. Pedro

    Marko,

    Tony Adams is literally leaking information on the record and you don’t count is as a leak.

    No I don’t. Doesn’t work for the club doesn’t count as a leak

    However you cut this comment, you are wrong, as usual.

  87. Marko

    Telling someone that a new member of staff at your organisation is bloody good is hardly something the club are going to discipline Bould for.

    What a leak i mean just mind blowing honestly. And the bit where he said we missed out on signing Jude Bellingham… riveting stuff… Tony Adams will be holed up in a South American embassy for a while after that

  88. Tom

    Sorry, haven’t been following closely, but are we back to someone said something positive about Arteta therefore he’s the real deal thing again?

    Aren’t we past the testimonial evidence for Arteta’s sauciness nine months in?

  89. Marko

    Again doesn’t work at the club and talked about how good Steve Bould thinks Mikel is… Pedro if you want to class that as a leak to smear the club and Edu by all means go nuts in fact waste a post and a Saturday evening arguing about it but it’s literally irrelevant. Unless you’re someone who thinks leaks of any kind looks bad on management… which you used to

  90. raptora

    From the link that CT posted I found this one.

    https://i.imgur.com/POb16LK.jpg
    Auba’s touch maps under Wenger, Emery and Arteta.
    Gigantic difference in Auba’s touch map between Emery and Arteta. Not a coincidence that Auba’s goal threat is at an all time low. Under Emery he won the Golden Boot. Apparently he can score a load of goals playing more central.

  91. Pedro

    Marko, you spend 24 hours a day on an Arsenal blog and you claim to be the go-to on Dutch football. Don’t pretend Arsenal having a deal lined up for the hottest kid in English football isn’t of interest to you. It absolutely is.

  92. Pedro

    Marko, leaking information is literally a leak. Unless you think Steve Bould and the press team signed off Adams saying that.

    Let’s go back to your original points… you don’t count Adams saying we were close to Bellingham as a leak.

    Factually, you are incorrect.

    2 mins ago, you had no interest in Bellingham, but you are interesting enough to argue against reality.

    Head spinning stuff.

  93. Marko

    The other thing is those comments came out 4 days ago why are we even talking about them now? Trying to get the comments section to give Mikel a day off from being criticized I imagine. Yeah I dunno if it’s going to happen

  94. Zacharse

    Pedro
    The leadership at the very top is kroenke. This should never be forgotten and he has a long track record of being a lousy owner…

    Really good post, reads like the first proper reflection of the summers biz. I get the sense that due to the pandemic a lot of otherwise simple biz didnt get done. Lacazette, kola, a lot more, perhaps we might have gotten a fee for mikhi. Regardless, the big one is ozil. Theres gotta be a lot more to the story there. Perhaps he was asked to move on and refused deals that havent made it to the gossip column yet. We dont know. It does make sense that willians deal was agreed maybe even before the extent of the pandemic became clear. This may have been a like for like signing w ozil leaving. I still think willian was good biz, the brazil link w luiz and gabi m (theyre both gabi m) gives a strong profile to the dressing room. Part of last years issues def had to do with dressing room morale among other thibgs. This is crucial to our season as we have seen already how hard the momentum swings will be under the early days of what will hopefully be a long arteta regime. I hope the partey/auba african link can pull in some talent as well, who wouldnt want to be playing w those 2.

    Also is it just me or has auba seemed to be nursing an ankle injury for the last month?

    The scouting and backroom changes seem totally Necessary. Wenger the god had the perfect setup in 2010 for the epl of the year 2000. Our signings have been mixed at best and have only Gotten worse until now.

    The saliba gossip on here had the one guy saying he was still pissed he wasnt permitted to play the ligue 1 cup final, still unsubstantiated?

  95. Marc

    “Also is it just me or has auba seemed to be nursing an ankle injury for the last month?”

    Can’t say I’ve noticed that but something isn’t right.

  96. Pedro

    Zach, think Saliba will go out on loan in Jan. Most of the noise around him has been nonsense. Though it’s clear to me the club didn’t do a good job managing the process.

    Auba is massively out of form, reckon we’ll see a reaction after the break. Start him in the middle. Willian right. Saka on the left See where it goes.

  97. Marko

    Marko, you spend 24 hours a day on an Arsenal blog and you claim to be the go-to on Dutch football.

    It’s getting embarrassing now Pedro I dunno what you’re on about.

    Don’t pretend Arsenal having a deal lined up for the hottest kid in English football isn’t of interest to you. It absolutely is.

    Is that even what Adams suggested? I only remember United and Dortmund going hard for Jude Bellingham but either way it’s not that important disappointing perhaps

  98. Marko

    Let’s go back to your original points… you don’t count Adams saying we were close to Bellingham as a leak.

    Eh not really no. I don’t really count anything about it as a leak saying that we were close to and should have signed Jude Bellingham isn’t really a leak and him saying that Steve Bould thinks Mikel is the business is such irrelevance it’s unreal.

    You know what you’re arguing about Tony Adams coming out with: “The chief scout was absolutely bowled over by him and the great prospect that he is.

    “He had more or less done the deal”

    The chief scout doesn’t finalize transfers so by technically speaking Tony Adams is just plain wrong or talking out his hoop. Like I said the whole thing is irrelevant barely even worth talking about it honestly doesn’t have the desired effect on Edu that you were hoping for.

  99. Pedro

    Marko, one more time,

    If confidential information is leaked to the press, it is a leak.

    No debate.

    It doesn’t matter what your fictional interpretation of a leak is. Adams leaked. He has inside sources, having cited Steve Bould earlier in the week. This is not a debate. Just move on and accept what is real.

  100. Pedro

    … and let’s remember who thought writing about Raul was a pointless endeavour. You.

    How did that end?

    This is why you don’t make editorial decisions.

  101. Marko

    Marko, trying to create some interesting content, you should have a crack yourself.

    Your 4 days late and it’s not interesting. Try harder. You know what you could do it might be interesting to actually address the whole Arteta and misusing players and getting the formation wrong on a consistent basis. Could be cathartic and it might actually draw some attention to the real problems facing Arsenal at the moment. You know something in-depth not just Mikel needs to do better after an initial defeat and then that’s more or less that until the next one.

    Could be good I’m just saying

  102. Marko

    … and let’s remember who thought writing about Raul was a pointless endeavour. You.How did that end?This is why you don’t make editorial decisions.

    Considering that you purposely don’t write about the real issue currently hindering Arsenal I’d start to question your editorial choices as of late if I was you. Tony adams coming out and saying that Mikel is great and Edu missed out on signing Jude Bellingham isn’t as important as say the manager having us struggling as a club on the pitch

  103. Jamie

    The real real question tonight is who’s been leaking to Val that Arteta is difficult to work with?

    Clearly not Tony Adams nor Steve Bould. Any guesses?

  104. Venga, Dani

    Great post today, Pedro – it’s nice to transcend the Arteta discourse, which IMO has become lazy and short-sighted on here.

    It’s clear we need somebody in Edu’s role, who commands respect and has a track record of effective long-term planning. Perhaps in the mould of Dortmund/Leipzig as if often discussed on here. Is Edu that guy? Doesnt seem like it.

  105. Marc

    Ishola

    Do you know what fucks me off? Those same fucking retards will be the same ones screaming and moaning if they or a parent needs hospital attention due to COVID.

    No one likes the lockdowns and there are arguments that they infringe civil liberties but every country in Europe is having to deal with this. Didn’t France announce 90,000 new cases in one day a few days ago?

  106. Pedro

    Marc, that is a take I didn’t expect from you!

    We just landed the 10pm curfew,

    Dani, have my doubts. We don’t need a Dein it here, we need a leader… let Arteta coach. Luis Campos would be magic:

  107. Marc

    Pedro

    Why not? We’re (hopefully) a few weeks from a vaccine being started on the high risk and key workers, even more hopefully the Oxford / Astrazeneca vaccine will be ready for roll out shortly afterwards. Once they’re out there and those most vulnerable are covered you can start using the vaccine in a targeted manor – spike in cases in Leicester inoculate enough to stamp the spike out.

    When we’re so close to getting to the end of what’s made 2020 a shit year for most and even worse for a lot of others why go out and be a prick about things?

  108. Valentin

    Pedro,

    I am not misreading what you wrote, I am disagreeing with your interpretation of things.

    On one side you wrote that Arteta is the governor and is in charge and that Edu is weak and subservient to him. And then on the next sentence you blame the difficulty behind the scene on him.
    I agree on those facts. Edu lack the experience to be an efficient DoF and yes he lacks character and is subservient to Arteta.
    However where I disagree on the interpretation of things. My take is that Arteta like Pep can be overbearing and difficult to satisfy behind the scene. Having an imperfect structure having to deal with a control freak is how we ended up with Wenger over extended. However there three majors difference between Arsenal and ManCity.

    First difference is that the entire setup at ManCity has been designed to accommodate Pep. At Arsenal Arteta is supposed to be working in tandem with Edu. Right now, Arteta is not building with Edu, his staff is briefing against Edu. He used different excuses for the Saliba debacle, but the bottom line it stems from him changing his mind at the 11th hour. Personally I am glad, that Edu took the decision to go with Partey instead of dithering and ending up with nobody which was the most likely outcome.

    Second difference is that Pep and Arteta are different in term of personality. Pep does not try to publicly appease people, with him once you are out you are out and there is no pretence of a potential coming back. Pep took one look at Joe Hart and just kicked him out. With Pep at Arsenal, Leno would be at Aston Villa or in the reserve and Martinez installed No1.

    The last biggest difference linked to the previous one is the budget. Pep can afford to alienate players, because money is no object. Treating a player in such way that his value drop is not a problem. Do that at Arsenal to Guendouzi, Torreira and half the transfer budget is just gone.

    Right now, Arteta should concentrate on the issue on the pitch. That need to micro manage everything is counter productive especially when his department is not doing so well.